Let me tell you all, going natural was one of the BEST decisions I’ve ever made. Once upon a time, when I was addicted to that creamy crack, my hair would never grow past my forehead (DISCLAIMER: I am NOT attacking the creamy crack addicts, it just did not work for my hair). I called them struggle bangs. It was way after the wave of going natural hit that I finally decided to have my big chop. It wasn’t because there was a fad of various curl patterns bouncing up and down both North and South Ovals at The University of Oklahoma (I was graduating anyways). It was because I wanted my hair to get past struggle phase.
Now, the years have flown by and I can honestly say that I LOVE my hair. I have the freedom to do whatever I want to it, even if that means making the decision to chop it off again. You see, when you were a part of the struggle of team no length, you were hesitant to cut your hair because it was like this is all I have! I need to hold on to every centimeter! Oh but when that length came thick and in full effect, you did random stuff like bounce that hair around for no reason…
Little did I know all that bouncing and blow outs would brew up ‘fascination’ from all walks of people. Now, here is the thing, when I first got some length, I did not mind questions from both the sober and non sober spirits who would approach me in random places, asking “OMG, can I touch your hair?! What does it feel like?! It’s soooo soft!”. But as the days go by, I began feeling very uncomfortable. A lot of that uneasiness came from the approach of all the curious Geroges. That awkward moment when someone feels entitled to pat my hair like an animal without the decency of asking, “Can/May I touch your hair?”, I instantly feel that your ‘curiosity’ came with a side order of shade, leaving me feeling like…
Not only does it amaze me when other people are amazed so much by natural hair that they feel the need to reach out and touch, it amazes me even more that some people are so tactless with their curiosity. It is my sincere wish that one day naturals, relaxed, permed, and all other walks of hair types can coexist in harmony with RESPECT for one another. I have never in my life went up and touched someone’s flat ironed, curly, whatever type of hair even if it was cute. That is because all though I may be curious, I’ve never been curious enough to touch it, and I respect them enough to not want to get all in their space. All those trips to the grocery store with Mama telling me not to touch anything because I couldn’t pay for it paid off. I didn’t pay for your fancy hair-do, so I ain’t gonna touch it.
Understanding that this really has to do with cultural awareness and sensitivity, genuine curiosity I feel is welcomed. When the genuine folk approach, they come with an aura that screams, ‘I want to make peace with you and understand you and feeling your hair will allow that. This is how my culture/curiosity will understand you more!‘ But when that aura of tactlessness has fallen upon you, I feel the message is more, ‘Ha! Your hair looks funny and I have never seen such a concoction. Without a care of you wanting me to or not, I am now touching it and to my surprise it’s soft like baby hair!‘
What are your thoughts and feelings about random people pattin’ them follicles? Do you welcome curiosity of all intentions? Why do you feel some of us naturalistas are uncomfortable with other people wanting to touch our hair? Have you ever experienced uneasiness, and how did it make you feel?
We really would love to hear from you on this topic! Also, check out this posting from NY Daily News. It was a study performed at Union Square Park entitled, ‘You Can Touch My Hair’. It is a great approach to the curiosity and the feelings of the African American women who allowed random people to touch their hair!